Chat with Chris Low
Welcome to SportsNation! On Thursday, ESPN.com's SEC blogger Chris Low will stop by to talk some college football.
Low joined ESPN.com in 2007 after 10 years with The (Nashville) Tennessean covering the University of Tennessee and SEC. The Rock Hill, S.C., native lives with his wife in Knoxville and has three sons.
Send your questions now and join Low Thursday at 1 p.m. ET!
Chris Low (1:03 PM)
Football is back. LSU opens spring ball on Friday, and Missouri and Alabama both practice next week. Should be plenty to talk about.
Joe Ricky (Dadeville, AL)
Chris... As an Auburn fan, I'm tired of reading about all the "young talent" we had on the field last year. IMO, talented teams don't get beat 38-14, 45-10, 45-7, and 42-14, no matter how young they are? Is Auburn's talent overrated, or are the coaches not getting the job done? Thanks
Chris Low (1:05 PM)
I hear you. The LSU, Georgia and Alabama losses were embarrassing, and that's a big reason Chizik overhauled his defensive staff. They knew they were going to be hurting in some areas last season and playing guys who didn't have much experience. Nobody, though, expected them to be that porous on defense, and there was never much of a passing game to speak of on offense. We'll find out about the coaching, because you have two new coordinators and players who now have some experience.
Bryan (Springdale, AR)
Do you believe that any of the Arkansas receivers will be taken in the 2nd round?
Chris Low (1:07 PM)
I would have thought Adams had a shot with how valuable he is in special teams, but I was shocked at his 40 time (4.55). He may still have a chance, but being so small, a slower 40 time isn't going to help him.
How will USC be able to use Lattimore, Wilds, Carson, and Davis together during games?
Chris Low (1:08 PM)
Great problem to have. You need two or three backs in this league, and with Lattimore coming off a knee injury, I think it helps him if he doesn't have to carry as much of the load in 2012.
Do you think Malcom Mitchell can play both offense and defense, and still be a big offensive threat for the Dawgs next year?
Chris Low (1:10 PM)
They're going to have to pick their spots with him if he's genuinely going to play a lot of defense. The last thing you want is a tired cornerback on the field in the fourth quarter. It looks like the Dawgs will be pretty deep at WR, so maybe they use him more situationally there than on offense. But he was also clearly their best deep threat, so it's going to be a delicate deal.
Chris, thanks for taking the time to be here. I know it doesn't really matter, but considering the SEC has won 6 BCS titles in a row, shouldn't the preceived best team in the conference (LSU or Bama) be ranked #1 in the 2012 preseason poll? I see everyone with USC at the top, but they only beat 3 teams with winning records last year and lost to a horrible ASU team by 21 points. Is everyone outside of the south just sick of the SEC? Seems like the SEC is #1 until proven otherwise.
Chris Low (1:12 PM)
Yes, everyone outside of the SEC is sick of the SEC, and more precisely, sick of seeing the SEC win the national title every year. That said, I also think USC will be very good next season, and I think making it through the Pac-12 is easier than making it through the SEC. It would be neat to see a USC-Alabama or USC-LSU matchup in the title game next season.
Imagine you are betting your life savings on whether or not Vandy will make it back to a bowl in 2012. Where do you put your money?
Chris Low (1:17 PM)
I wouldn't bet my life savings on anything. But given the way James Franklin has energized that program and upgraded the talent level, I'm predicting that Vanderbilt will back in a bowl. The key games are the second week of the season at Northwestern, back-to-back road trips to Kentucky and Ole Miss in November and the Tennessee game in Nashville on Nov. 17. They have to win at least two of those games, and maybe three, to be bowl eligible again.
Scratches (D'ham, NC)
Hey Chris, did Trent Richardson hurt his draft stock by having surgury right before the combine? I think he might have only brought himself down if he had gone to the combine cause he's clearly the best RB
Chris Low (1:19 PM)
I don't think so. It's not major knee surgery, and he's been so durable in the past. I'd be very surprised to see him slip out of the top 8 to 10 picks.
Tony (Richmond, CA)
Wll Jadaveon Clowney have an All-SEC type year and lead the conference in sacks now that Ingram is gone, given him more snaps on the field?
Chris Low (1:21 PM)
Clowney was plenty productive last season and had really good numbers on limited snaps. I look for him to break out in 2012 and become one of the most productive pass-rushers in the league. I can see 12-plus sacks from Clowney in 2012.
Hey Chris so when exactly is Tennessee's Junior Day? Im having difficulty finding any information on it let alone any info for any of the other SEC teams when their Junior Day is. Can ya help me out?
Chris Low (1:22 PM)
Tennessee's Junior Day is this Saturday.
Chioke Hassan (Baltimore,Md)
Dear ChrisHow are you seeing Texas A&M in the SEC?
Chris Low (1:23 PM)
Somewhere around 6-6 this first season. Lack of experience at QB is going to hurt. But in time, I see the Aggies making some noise in the West.
With the new coaches on defense, do you think Arkansas will have more success against running QB's?
Chris Low (1:26 PM)
The Hogs need to have more success on defense - period. They made strides from 2009 to 2010, but sort of went backward this past season. The injuries to Bequette and Tank Wright hurt. But they have to be better at not giving up crippling plays on defense and do a better job on third down. It was a nice start by Haynes in the bowl game. The offense has to step it up, too. The Hogs didn't light it up offensively last year against either Alabama or LSU.
Chris (Baton Rouge, LA)
When will LSU's humiliating season end? The latest Jordan Jefferson article about how NFL views him as a joke, and him tweeting like he dominated the combine, just further illustrates Les Miles poor decision making in sticking with this guy. This Alabama humiliation will not go away, and I fear this is a permanent scar on the program.
Chris Low (1:29 PM)
Come on, I wouldn't go that far. They did win 13 games against one of the toughest schedules I've ever seen and have a ton of talent returning. Now, I have to agree with you about Jefferson. The more I read and hear about him, the more I wonder why Miles would stick with him like he did.
Steve S. (Columbia, SC)
Chris,I've always respected your opinion, so what do you think of this prediction. 12+ wins!
Chris Low (1:32 PM)
I can't go with 12-plus, not in this league. The Gamecocks need to make sure they don't get ahead of themselves and concentrate on getting back to Atlanta after coming up short last year. That's what the Head Ball Coach has at the top of his list -- an SEC title. The number of wins is secondary.
How likely is the 4-team playoff scenario going to include a provision for conference champions only? Would the other conferences team up to do something like that since most have a much harder time getting multiple teams into the top 4?
Chris Low (1:34 PM)
I'm on record as saying making it conference champions only is foolish and short-sighted. Why penalize any league that happens to have two or three really strong teams in a particular year? But, yes, I think there's a feeling out there that keeping it to conference champions only would help prevent the SEC from dominating the way it has the last six years.
Ray (Pawleys Island)
Chris, last week you said on your chat that you don't see the Gamecocks continuing the success they have had the last 2 years, why? Do you think that just because of their history they are going to go back to being a 6 or 7 win team every year?
Chris Low (1:38 PM)
I don't see them winning 10-plus games every year, not in the SEC. That's not to say that they won't continue to compete for the East crown in most years. Spurrier has built the program to a level where it's going to compete. But winning 10-plus games every year simply doesn't happen in this league unless you're Alabama and LSU. Even LSU won just eight in 2008 and nine in 2009. And look at Alabama before Saban. It's just too cyclical to think that anybody is going to win 10 every year. I can see the Gamecocks winning 10, but then maybe going back to seven or eight in some years. It's just the way it is in this league.
Morgan (Atl )
What is going on with Boykins was he invited to the combine?
Chris Low (1:39 PM)
He had a slight fracture in his leg and didn't participate in any of the testing sessions.
Andre (Monticello, FL)
Chris, will we have better offensive production in Gainesville this season and how do rate that young Gator Defense....could that unit be one of the best returning in the SEC.
Chris Low (1:42 PM)
The defense definitely has a chance to be special, especially in their second year in the system under Dan Quinn. Floyd and Easley up front are going to be something to see. I really believe Roberson and Purifoy at CB also have a chance to be special. On offense, you're going to see a different approach. Muschamp wants to commit more to running the ball, use the tight ends to create mismatches and take some shots. They were awful in the red zone last year when it came to running it. That will be an emphasis under Pease. The jury is still out, though, on who's going to be their go-to running back.
Chris (Charleston, SC)
Who's got the best backfield next season? My money is on LSU. What a stable of backs they've assembled over the last couple of years!
Chris Low (1:46 PM)
My top five RB stables would be: 1. LSU, 2. Arkansas, 3. South Carolina, Tie-4. Alabama and Georgia. Honorable mention goes to Mississippi State. Keep an eye on Nick Griffin and LaDarius Perkins.
Chris (Charleston, SC)
Tell us more about LSU's new DB coach. Cooper was the man, can we expect a drop-off at DBU?
Chris Low (1:48 PM)
Raymond is very well respected and certainly knows his way around LSU. Plus, with that kind of talent in the secondary, I don't see any drop-off. I would like to see Loston come on this season and live up to his billing coming out of high school. Claiborne was a great player, but Brandon Taylor did a lot for that team, too.
Josh (Sarasota, FL)
Chris.. based on what you saw last season, however short, who do you think will emerge as the starting quarterback for Florida between Brissett and Driskel?
Chris Low (1:49 PM)
I'd go with Brissett right now, but so much could change over these next few months. Right now, I just like Brissett's ability to throw the ball a little better.
Joshua (Bethlehem GA)
After a trouble and injury laden season at UGA last year, which running back do you see as having the most to prove in the spring? Is it Isaiah Crowell, maybe the most talented, or Carlton Thomas, the most experienced, who should be the senior leader of the group, or someone else?
Chris Low (1:51 PM)
Definitely Crowell. He has a world of talent, but needs to get mentally tougher. The Dawgs need to know they can count on him in the fourth quarter next season.
Jeremy (Birmingham, AL)
I'm calling it in March, UGA will be a muliple loss team going into their bye week (will lose to more than one of @Mizzou, Vandy, Tennessee, @South Carolina).
Chris Low (1:52 PM)
If you're right, it's going to be a long season in Athens. As I look at it, the Dawgs have the easiest schedule in the SEC. If they don't make it back to Atlanta, get ready for some serious grumbling.
Tim (Wal Mart Ville)
If Tyler Wilson has the same stats in 2012 as he did last season, where will he fall in the 2013 NFL draft?
Chris Low (1:55 PM)
First round. He probably would have gone in the second round this year had he come out and no later than the third round.
Justin H. (Louisville, KY)
What does Dooley have to do to keep his job in Knoxville? How many wins are we talking?
Chris Low (1:57 PM)
At least seven wins in the regular season, and more importantly, he needs to beat somebody that counts (Georgia, Florida, Alabama). If he wins seven and then loses in the bowl game, it could get interesting. But eight wins in any capacity should ensure that he gets a fourth season. Given what he walked into, he probably deserves four seasons.
Max (Fort Knox, KY)
Chris give us your top 5 SEC teams as of right now.
Chris Low (1:59 PM)
1. LSU2. Alabama3. Arkansas4. Georgia5. South CarolinaNote: I think it's very close among Arkansas, Georgia and South Carolina. But if you ask me who is the best team right now, I'd probably lean to the Hogs. That said, I would pick Georgia higher in a poll because the Dawgs have an easier schedule.
Taco (Jackson, MS)
With LSU on the decline, is this the year Miss State finally beats LSU? Or will we have to wait one more year?
Chris Low (2:00 PM)
Who said LSU is on the decline? They're going to be picked in the top three in the country to open the 2012 season, return 12 of their top 22 on defense, four starters in the offensive line, five RBs who could play anywhere and an extremely talented QB who should immediately upgrade their passing game.
Jeremy (Birmingham, AL)
What is your gut prediction of how future SEC schedules will look, 9 conference games, two rotating cross divisionals, or 1 rotating - thus preserving the traditional cross division rivals?
Chris Low (2:02 PM)
I just don't see the coaches and ADs giving in to nine conference games. Nobody, and I mean nobody, wants it. There's also support for not eliminating the annual rivalries such as Auburn-Georgia and Alabama-Tennessee, so I would think it's going to be a 6-1-1 format, although there's apparently been a lot of discussion about a lot of different formats.
Joey (Charleston, SC)
If you could help select who wears #16 for LSU next season, who'd you pick?
Chris Low (2:09 PM)
Good question. You mean No. 18, which Brandon Taylor wore last season and goes to an LSU player who's overcome adversity and represents what it means to be an LSU football player. It started with Matt Mauck. Josh Dworacyzk would be a good choice, but he can't exactly wear No. 18 while playing offensive line. Maybe Sam Montgomery or perhaps Eric Reid
Chris Low (2:10 PM)
Thanks to everybody for stopping by. We'll plan to do it again next week. Be safe.